Rees’ Pieces: One-On-One With Bootlace
I recently had the privilege of attending Ontario’s oldest punk festival in Campbellford, Ontario. Known as Spiderfest, it is named after a great man that everyone knew as “Spider,” an animal-rescuing lover of all things music who sported chains on his pants and a green mohawk until the day he died, in his 80s. Over 25 bands filled the roster for the weekend, including a local crust/hardcore band from Windsor known as Repetitions. Some of their upcoming shows in Windsor include opening for Jucifer, KENmode, and the highly anticipated Napalm Death. This is my interview with their guitarist, Stef Paulton, who many people know as “Bootlace.”
Rees: Tell us a bit about the name Bootlace. Where did it originate?
Bootlace: Well, it all started when I decided to change my facebook name. I was sort of weary that anyone who searched for my name could add me to Facebook, so I changed it. My Doc Marten boots gave me the idea, because my laces were always coming undone and people were always telling me to do them up, so I called myself Bootlace. I know it’s kind of lame to come up with your own nickname, but I wasn’t intending that to be the case. Most people still call me Stef, but I do occasionally get called Boot or Bootlace.
Rees: Repetitions could be described to some as crusty, hardcore punk. But if you had to describe it using three other words, which would you choose and why?
Bootlace: Hmmm. I would have to say fast, short and angry. We like really fast & short songs, and Jay adds the aggression with the vocals. It’s a perfect marriage.
Rees: On a scale of 1-10, how easily did Repetitions come together?
Bootlace: I would say it would be about a three or four. We had some issues in the beginning finding a full band. In fact, we had to cancel our first two or three shows because we couldn’t find a bass player, or a singer. We had a few people try out, but alas it wasn’t to be. However, the first time Ash heard us playing in the basement at my Christmas party, he knew he wanted to join us. He went out and got himself a bass and showed up to practice one day, having only played some twelve years before. I was kind of hesitant, I’m not going to lie, but after the first song we played together, the sparks were flying. We were almost complete. After a while of Sean saying over and over, “I want my friend Jay to sing with us!” I said, “Get him to come to practice” and then he came. Jay has so much energy and spirit, that I think it takes our sound to a whole new level of awesomeness! Jay was our biggest fan from the beginning. Playing with him at Spiderfest really was powerful. I think our family is complete now.
Rees: Every band has their mishaps when they first start out. Describe some of the mishaps that the band has gone through during live shows.
Bootlace: Well, for starters, I keep breaking shit. Usually my guitar, or a string that I don’t have a replacement for. We have had a few minor other mishaps, like Ash’s patch chord not wanting to stay in the jack, or losing drumsticks, but mostly it’s all good. Except for the Holden House show. It turns out drinking Menoshewitz on stage is not a good idea.
Rees: Out of the 5 live shows you’ve played, which was the most fun? Which would you say the band played the tightest? Which would you say was the biggest disaster?
Bootlace: Well, for me the most fun show was the London show. It was my first out of town show, and we got to play with Go Die Scum! and Gatgas. I really liked the crowd, I was happy with how we played, and the other bands were really good too! It was just a great vibe, and we all got super drunk after, which always makes for a great time as well. The tightest show we played would probably be the London show as well. I know everyone else in the band is a veteran, but this is my first band, and I know that we are still in our infancy. We’ve been improving more and more with every show though, and so I can’t wait to see what the next show will be like!
The worst show we played was definitely the Holden House show. I have nothing against the place, in fact, I rather enjoy going there to see other bands and to party with my friends. However, the looseness of it was kind of unreal. We got way too drunk too fast, especially considering we were expecting to be one of the first bands playing, and they decided to put us second last instead. Oops. I could barely stand, let alone play, and Sean was so drunk he was trying to play with the snare on his lap because he could not comprehend how to set up the snare stand. I think everyone left and went upstairs right around the middle of the first song. Ah well. Lesson learned. I think it will be a while before we play there again.
Rees: In one sentence describe the other band members. What do you think drives them forward with Repetitions?
Bootlace: One sentence huh? Well, they are the best brothers and friends I have ever had. I believe that your band is the family you get to choose, and I would go out on a limb for any one of them at any time. I think the thing that drives us all forward in our band has everything to do with the fact that we love the noise we are making. I think that’s important. I mean, if you don’t like what you are putting out, how can you expect other people to enjoy it? All our energy gets put out to the crowd, and they give us just as much back. This band is not a job. If it is, it’s the best job I ever had. Also the least paying job I’ve ever had. hahaha.
Rees: Most bands have that “one summer show” they are really looking forward to. Can you tell me about yours?
Bootlace: Spiderfest. Hands down. I went to my first one last summer, and it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me! The fact that I got to play it this year still blows my freaking mind! Basically it is a huge punkfest in Eastern Ontario. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, you need to go at least once. It will change you forever! There’s camping, bands, booze, and whatever else stimulates you. The people there are super friendly, the atmosphere is awesome, and best of all, no noise complaints! Pretty much the greatest thing on earth as far as I’m concerned.
Rees: What defines your own sense of style/fashion? Do you like to change it up, or keep it consistent?
Bootlace: Fashion? Style? I dunno. I try to wear clean clothes to shows, and whatever is comfortable, like my overalls. It just so happens that most of my shirts are band shirts, or Superman shirts, and I usually wear the same three or four pairs of pants or shorts all the time. I guess you could call that consistent.
Rees: I’ve heard that you are the only female punk guitarist playing live shows in Windsor right now. Does that put any amount of pressure on you?
Bootlace: I try not to look at it that way. I mean, really, there’s no one doing anything even close to what we are doing, so it’s not like I have to compete with anyone. Not that that’s what playing in a band is about anyways. To me it’s all about empowerment. Really, would it be more satisfying to me if I was playing a drumkit, or a bass guitar; or singing rather than playing a guitar? It doesn’t matter. Kind of like writing. Whether it’s in ball point, or typed on a computer, the words are just as powerful. It’s about being there, not what you’re doing.
Rees: Will Repetitions be releasing any professionally recorded music in the near future? What can the masses expect?
Bootlace: We hope to start recording soon. We haven’t decided what we’re going to be putting out yet, perhaps a seven inch.
Rees: What do you think about girls/women in punk who gain popularity by being more of a sex-object than someone with actual talent?
Bootlace: To be quite honest, I don’t really think about it. When I’m on stage, or getting ready to go on stage, the last thing I’m thinking about is what people think I look like, or how many people want to fuck me. Really, playing on stage is so empowering, it’s an experience that nothing else can compare to. I think that may be attractive to people, but who cares? I mean, if someone wants to be a sex symbol, and dress all sexy and dance all seductively, I have no issue with it. I can’t tell anyone how to do their thing. It’s not how I roll.
Rees: Tell me about the band’s “jam space.” Does it fit the “crust” persona you guys are going for?
Bootlace: My basement? Ha! I guess it’s pretty crusty. And kind of leaky, and smelly, so yeah. I guess it’s pretty crusty. I don’t know if we were ever trying to make it that way, but it sure fits the bill.
Rees: You recently invested in a sweet Crate half-stack. How long did it take you to figure it out and do you like the new “Stef-sound”?
Bootlace: How long? I’m still working on figuring it out. I’ve never been that technologically savvy. Give me some time. That’s what Ash is for anyways! (Love ya buddy) As for the new “Stef-sound,” I love it. It’s more grinding, much louder, and I’m definitely the loudest thing at practice now. Except for Sean. And Jay, boy’s got some pipes! Actually, Ash is pretty comparable. I guess it’s just loud enough.
Rees: What is your favorite Repetitions tune to jam, play live, or show off to your friends? Which one is your least favorite and why?
Bootlace: I love playing “No Escape”. I may be slightly biased, as I wrote it, but man does it roar. My least favorite song to play? I don’t know. I’m really into all of them actually. That’s what makes playing shows fun!
Rees: Do you find that you have a different personality on stage, or are you always the same ol’ Stef?
Bootlace: Sometimes I think when I’m on stage, I’m almost on my best behavior. Kind of weird for a punk, I know, but the face I put out to the world on stage says, “Yo.” The face I put out the rest of the time usually says, “AHHHHH!”
Rees: Where do you see yourself next summer with Repetitions?
Bootlace: Europe. I’m hoping to get to see some of the rest of the world. Traveling is cool.
Rees: Stefstock (your outdoor birthday bash) was quite the success. Tell us how that idea was started and how you feel about it now that it’s over? Is this something you’d like to do every year?
Bootlace: Actually, I got the idea from Spiderfest. It was originally started as Spider’s birthday, and he just kept getting more and more kickass bands every year, and more and more people started coming. When Sean told me the story, a light bulb kind of went off in my head, and I knew how I wanted to celebrate my next birthday. Turns out I can throw a pretty damn good party! Not to brag or anything. I’m already starting plans for next years Stefstock. My dad has been gracious enough to offer me his property again next year for the bash. Hope to see some of you out there!
Due to popular demand, whenever I interview someone from a band I will include a link to a place where interested readers can check out their music. You can partake of some Repetitions by clicking this link.